April 4, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Card store owner hopes to draw area business

By HSJ Online [email protected]

For John Freeman, an opening on the Hope Town Square has let him try a lifelong dream of opening his own storefront.

Freeman has been collecting, trading and selling sports cards from his garage for close to 30 years, he says. But this summer he took the leap, opening a physical store, S&J Sportscards and Collectibles, on the south side of the Town Square.

"I've always been a collector of sports cards, primarily baseball," Freeman said. "In 1986, I had the opportunity to start doing some selling. It has just kind of blossomed from there, to where we have our own website, and have for many years. I just recently closed another business that I owned and operated, which has led me to the opportunity to be able to open this on the Town Square."

While Freeman was in the small-engine repair business for 28 years, now he gets to spend his days working with his true passion.

"I took on a job with another online company and it allows me to do that as well as operate the sportscards, collectible shop," Freeman said.

Freeman said he stocks cards dating all the way back to 1910, to the present.

A good portion of his business will continue to be online, but Freeman also wants to increase the foot traffic coming into his store.

"I look to really grow that," Freeman said. "We are going to be adding some additional products, some stuff that I never have really ever carried, that I have never stocked."

Freeman said he plans to begin selling collectible card games, such as Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Magic: The Gathering, all of which have organized store-based tournament opportunities.

"There are not very many places anymore that offer the opportunity to play and we are working with the companies, the manufacturers trying to get that," Freeman said. "I kind of want to try and build on that. There is a lot involved with that. We have to commit some playing space, tables, chairs, things of that nature. We have to have judges onboard, but in order to do that we have to go through some training with their company, to judge the events. But we hope to eventually get that up and going as well."

Freeman has lived in Hope, near Hauser, for more than 20 years. He was excited to find a chance to open a store in the town he calls home.

"I like the area and this building happened to become available," Freeman said. "It just gave me a nice fit, a good opportunity. It is close to home and we are really kind of looking forward to Hope Heritage Days and some of the other events that are held on the square that will open us up to a lot of other intentional customers."

Freeman said his wife, Sheryl, and his sons, Josh and Sam, have been instrumental in helping him get the store on track.

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